TunesDay Special: We miss you, Freddie

Freddie Mercury died 19 years ago today. If you’re a Baby Boomer you probably remember how you felt when John Lennon died. Freddie was my John Lennon.

I finally wrote something about his death a few years later. In truth, it’s not a very good poem at all, but I kept it around and treated it with reverence because it was about someone who was so important to my formative teen years.

So today S&R honors Freddie Mercury, even if the honor isn’t as worthy as we’d like. And please, enjoy the video at the end.

– for Freddie Mercury

		Is this the real life?
		Is this just fantasy?

1. Concert for Life, 4/20/92

Dateline: Wembley.  London in April,
parade of all things worshiped
here at the western world
			      as surviving
members of rock band Queen hosted a memorial AIDS
benefit in honor of fallen lead singer...

So many raindrops
dashing themselves against the sea:
Bowie, Daltrey, Hetfield, Hunter,
Lennox, Michael, Plant, Seal, Young...

	like mystics swaying
	clapping dancing drums
	singing the beast
	from afflicted flesh,

reverence cold as the firmament
when supernova fades:
how disquiet the darkness at burnout,
how laden with implication.

At the end, Elton John and Axl Rose,
icons of elegance and rage,
stood arm in arm, singing

	anyway the wind blows...

Consider these my tears
for all I've misunderstood,
for all I've failed to love.

2. Rhapsody

Like it was yesterday, almost –
four wood-paneled
walls in a red brick rancher,
oh, those years ago.
That was the scene: a boy of fourteen
in a room, in a house,
surrounded by cedar and white
pine and bonfire oak,
the Year of Our Lord

This was wide-eyed – before the Elton John
poster, of course,
		    before the blacklight
panther poster, before longer hair.

	And radio was air,
	breathed as it chanced by
	and never questioned;
	nor the grandeur of God's
	Sunday choir – my favorite part –
	like an infant at suckle.

A neighbor's car radio
caught it first, set it buzzing
at the ears like
wine-drenched bees.

That's how allowances got spent,
and thirty-dollar stereos,
A Night at the Opera
like a carousel's maiden voyage –

	I would watch as harmonies
	rode the turntable's gilt ponies,
	and spellbound, how they coiled,
	their revolution
	arriving, then leapt cherubim
	screaming into my throat.

3. A Toast

Last night Axl said
here was his proof
that rock and roll was art.

Tonight I'll seek out a jukebox
that knows "Bohemian Rhapsody,"
knows all the words.
I'll sit alone at the bar
remembering the boy who once sang along,

and lift my glass
as the gong flickers into silence.

One more thing. Don’t fuck this up, Sascha.

2 replies »

  1. Understand better how much he means to you. Happened to see this Tweet today (name, of course, is a spoof):

    Queen_UK: If one has one regret, it’s not knighting Freddie Mercury.